How to measure Online Visibility

Jan 2020
Online Presence

Online visibility is the presence of your brand online. Simply put, it’s all the places online that your brand shows up.

That includes search engines like Google, social media channels like Facebook, guest blog posts, media mentions, reviews, directories, Reddit threads, image searches, that old account you filled out ages ago…. everything and anywhere, from any time.

The ultimate goal of online visibility is to align the quality of your presence with your brand and services, and to increase the quantity of touch points for your brand so you can reach a bigger audience. 

There is no one unit of measurement for online visibility because it depends on your industry, niche, and competition. It boils down how well your brand is influencing your target audience.

This guide will take you through how to measure your online presence. Want some tips on how to improve your online presence? Check out these tips from top marketers on what you should focus on to improve your online visibility.

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Review your owned channels

Owned channels are the places online that you have control in editing the content about your brand. They include your website, social networks, business pages, and directories.

Check the following and make changes as necessary: 

  • Is the messaging on those channels aligned with your brand and services? Consider your about section, profile picture, and posts. If it’s not, make the changes necessary to align with your brand so there is no confusion about what your brand is about.  
  • Are all channels projecting the first impression you want to give someone new to your brand? Start with deciding what first impression you want people to have. For example, your first impression might be “professional and fun”. If your presence doesn’t match your ideal, where can you make adjustments to give people that first impression you want them to have?
  • Is your visual identity consistent on all channels? Your visual identity are your colours, fonts, logo, icons, and images your brand uses. If your visual identity is not consistent, you miss out on capturing a subconscious input to your users if they happen to scroll by your content in a hurry because there is no memory of what they’re seeing. For example, if your brand uses a hot pink every single time, eventually people see that hot pink and instantly recognize it as your brand without needing to read or watch what it’s about. 
  • Are all the fields filled out correctly (ie “description”, “services”, “hours”, etc.)? If not, update them so there is no conflicting information. 
  • Do you appear to be active on this channel? If not, you might consider updating it more often, or deleting it. A stagnant channel or one created in error (but not closed) can make the brand appear like they’re not actively in business or not well liked.

Measure visibility

Count all the channels your brand is on as the highest score you can have. Then give yourself a point for every channel that meets the criteria above. 

For example, if you have a website, Facebook Page, and one directory listing, your highest score is 3. If you’re satisfied with your Facebook Page (1 point) and directory listing (1 point) but your Website needs some work (0 points), give yourself a 2 out of 3 (or, 67%)

To improve: First, get yourself to 100% with the channels you’re currently on. Then look to expand the number of channels you’re on, provided you can keep them looking active and up-to-date throughout the year. Continue to maintain and expand that 100%.

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Visibility on search

Visibility on search is a combination of the amount of search terms your website comes up for, how high they rank in a search, and how likely that page will be clicked on.

For example, you may be #1 when you Google your brand name, but if almost no one Googles your brand name, then the visibility is low. However, you may be #1 for a search on the services you provide and thousands of people Google that term every month and typically click on your link. That makes your visibility high because lots of people are looking for it, and you’re the #1 spot. 

Measure visibility

You’ll need a tool like to properly research this. Measuring visibility on search gives a percentage. However, it is impossible to get 100%, so don’t aim for that. It’s ok to benchmark against your competition, but keep in mind they may have had more time and resources to improve their visibility.

If your visibility is significantly less than your competition, it can seem daunting to try to equal or surpass them. In truth, they may have been at it longer or had more resources to increase their visibility. We never want to compare our startling point to someone else’s current place, especially when they started long before us.

To measure your improvement, focus on your starting number and set a goal and plan for a reasonable increase over a six month period. Not sure what a reasonable goal or action plan is? If you want Geek Unicorn to do this research for you and support your action plan, we have an affordable package. Contact us and we’ll get started. 

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Backlinks quantity and quality

A backlink is a link to a page on your website from a page on someone else’s website. Sometimes referred to as a referral link, or external link. Backlinks do not include links in social media posts.

The quality of the backlink is important. A good quality backlink is on a site that has high visibility in search, is well established (ie not a brand new site), gets a lot of traffic, doesn’t have a lot of other links on the page, and the page contains content that is relevant to your business/services.

For example, if your business coach used your testimony on their website and linked back to your home page in the byline of your quote, this is probably just an ok backlink. It’s not great because your coach probably doesn’t get a ton of traffic to their site, there are other links going out to other unrelated businesses, and the content surrounding the link has nothing to do with your industry. However, if you had an article published on Forbes website and it was all about your brand and your expertise in your industry, this is likely a very good backlink to have. You want to avoid backlinks that are from spammy sites or in the comment section of a non-related page or post.

Measure Visibility

Your initial measurement will just be a number to indicate the amount of backlinks you have. But over time, you’re looking for high quality and quantity. The focus is on high quality over just going for immense quantity.

As you’re developing more backlinks, aim for high-quality backlinks, and not bothering to add low-quality backlinks. Mid-level backlinks are fine since they probably won’t hurt (like our business coach testimony example). To measure, set a goal and plan to increase your initial measurement with high-quality links.

Not sure what a reasonable action plan is? Contact us and we’ll help. 

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Engagement here is in relation to your social media posts or email newsletters. It is measured by how many people like, view, reply, comment, or click. These measurements are available on your social media channels and email marketing.

You’re looking to increase the engagement by aligning your audience to your content, creating calls to engage, and posting at a frequency that works for your audience. Note that you don’t need to align your content to your audience if your content is aligned to your brand. But you may consider adjusting format by uncovering what your audience likes best (ie videos, images, or text). A frequency that works for your audience is going to differ for every business. If you’re a news outlet, you’ll be producing content at a higher frequency than if you’re a local plumbing business.

If you’re not sure how to do any of these things, reach out to an experienced social media specialist with a proven track-record who understands your audience.

Measure Visibility

Use the tools on your social media platforms to measure engagement rates. Don’t have the tools? You might not have a business account. If the platform (ie Facebook, Instagram, etc) is important for your brand, then consider a business account. 

Note the change over time. But know that your industry benchmarks are likely very low. In truth, the average engagement rate per post on a Facebook Page is around 3%. So don’t beat yourself up if you’re not going viral.

Overtime, you’ll look to increase your audience so more people see your content and have opportunity to engage.

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Influential mentions

Influential mentions are when your brand is mentioned by a person or organization of influence within your market. I’m not just talking about “influencer marketing” when I talk about influential mentions.

Influence can come from the media, television, podcasts, awards, bloggers, affiliations, and yes, “influencers” on social media. If the person or organization has an audience, and that audience has your target market in it, then you’ll likely benefit from an influential mention.

When you’re going for influential mentions, consider how traffic will flow to your website and what link will be used for landing that traffic. For example, if you’re working with an influencer on social media for a particular product, consider creating a landing page for that specific product, rather than your general home page. However, if you’re the expert in a panel on a local television program, your home page might be the best link to reference.

Measure Visibility

For your measurement, you’ll simply count up the amount of influential mentions you have, and analyze the amount of traffic that comes from those channels. You can find the traffic from your Google Analytics or if you use special link tracking apps like bitly.

You can create a Google alert to notify you in your inbox when your brand is mentioned. It’s not perfect, but it’s a helpful method in scrapping the internet for new content about your brand. Hot tip: you can also use Google alerts for industry related news so you can stay on top of what’s happening in your industry.

Your goal for influential mentions is to increase the amount of mentions with quality sources of traffic. So if you ran an influencer campaign recently and saw amazing traffic and an increase in purchases, then do something like that again. If you’ve done nothing to increase influential mentions, consider the avenue that would be best for your brand (ie television, podcasts, news articles, etc) and work towards that.

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Web traffic means the amount of data a website sends and receives. But for this purpose, I’m referring to traffic as a loose term to represent the amount of users (people) visiting your website and where they’re coming from. The more users you have visiting your website, the more visible your brand is.

Measure Visibility

You can use a tool like Google Analytics to measure your traffic. What you’re looking for is an increase in traffic over time. When you look at the sources of the traffic, like Instagram, email, search, etc. You’ll want to see which are performing well and improve your efforts in those areas or close the gaps on ineffective sources of traffic.

Not sure where to start on all this? Contact us and we’ll help you build a plan to increase your online visibility.

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Rachel Mik
Rachel is a Marketing Coach from Toronto, Canada. She helps heart centered businesses and NFPs create their brand, website and an online presence that makes them stand out online, like a Unicorn in a field of horses.